Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish author who is most known for novels that explore Turkish identity and history. He was born on June 7, 1952, in Istanbul, Turkey. He is most known for being the first Turkish to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.
Pamuk was born into a wealthy and Western-oriented family and attended Robert College, an American school in Istanbul, before going on to Istanbul Technical University to study architecture. He dropped out after three years and focused solely on writing. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Istanbul in 1977. He resided in the United States from 1985 to 1988, serving as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York and the University of Iowa.
Pamuk began writing seriously in 1974, and his first novel, Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları (“Cevdet Bey and His Sons”), was released eight years later. It is a sprawling chronicle of an Istanbul family during and after the creation of the Turkish republic. He followed it up with Sessiz Ev (1983; Silent House), a novel in which he used various narrators to tell the tale of a family gathering on the eve of the military coup in Turkey in 1980. Pamuk's third novel, Beyaz Kale (1985; The White Castle), investigates the concept of identity through the tale of an educated young Italian abducted and sold as a slave to a professor in 17th-century Istanbul, gained him international acclaim. Kara Kitap (1990; The Black Book), a rich portrayal of Istanbul, and the mysteries Yeni Hayat (1996; The New Life) and Benim Adım Kırmızı (1998; My Name Is Red) were among his later books that were extensively translated.
In Kar (2002; Snow) a Turkish poet living in exile in Germany faces the tensions between East and West when he travels to a poor town in a remote area of Turkey. Masumiyet Müzesi (2008; The Museum of Innocence) explores an elderly man's relationship with his second cousin. Pamuk created a real-life version of the titular museum, utilizing a home in Istanbul to showcase a collection of artifacts gathered while writing the novel; it opened to the public in 2012, followed by the catalog Şeylerin Masumiyeti (The Innocence of Objects). Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın (2016; The Red-Haired Woman), Istanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir (2004; Istanbul: Memories and the City), The Naive and Sentimental Novelist (2010), and Kafamda Bir Tuhaflık (2014; A Strangeness in My Mind) are among his later works.
Except for three years in New York, Orhan Pamuk has spent his whole life in Istanbul's same streets and neighborhoods, and he currently resides in the same building where he grew up. Pamuk has only ever worked as a novelist for the past 40 years.